Book: Broken Strings (2019)
Author: Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer
Genre: MG, Near Historical (2002)
Rating: 3 stars
Basic plot: Shirli Berman has been cast in the musical, Fiddler on the Roof… although not quite in the role she’d hoped for (Hodel). She gets to be an old Jewish mama (Golde); and as she goes to her Jewish grandfather to help give her inspiration for the role, she begins to uncover his own history… something he never talked about. Until now.
1) The musical, Fiddler on the Roof, was one of the musicals I was a part of in high school. Although, I didn’t get such a plum role as Golde! So, I did enjoy attending the rehearsals with Shirli and all her friends.
2) I loved the relationship between Shirli and her grandfather, Zayde. Every day (or close to it), she brings him groceries and they have tea and talk. Shirli even brings Ben (Tevye in the musical).
3) I found it interesting that the setting is New Jersey in 2002, about six months after 9/11 happened. Of course, the book makes a bunch of connections with that event.
4) The historical connection with the Holocaust and the musicians who played at Auschwitz was something I haven’t come across before. I love it when history comes into books like this. Of course, this one is a very sad and heartbreaking connection.
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) [*Spoiler here] When their teacher is in an accident, Zayde comes forward to take her place until production. I wasn’t convinced by this plot point. First, he’s directing a musical he’s never seen before; and he’s avoided ALL musicals and the like for the past 50 years?? I would have preferred one of the kids to step up. Maybe Mindi, Shirli’s rival for Hodel… [End Spoiler]
2) I wasn’t crazy about the puppy-love story between [*Spoiler] Shirli and Ben. I thought it was kind of unnecessary. And it was a tad predictable. [End Spoiler]
3) Why would ANYbody be unhappy to get the role of Golde is beyond me. (I could understand if she got the understudy.)
My rating is 3 Stars (out of 5) – I enjoyed this one. I’d recommend for any theatre enthusiasts, as well as those who have an interest in the history of the Holocaust.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…